Perspectives on Daniel's 70 Weeks


Hi everyone, :)

The prophecies of Daniel occupy a lot of space on Protestant forums but I thought I might drop in here to get a Catholic (and Orthodox) perspective of Daniel 9:24-27. Do you have a standard stance on it?

We usually see 3 or 4 interpretations:
*]Historicist view
*]Dispensational view
*]Preterist view
*]Jewish view

What do Catholics say?


Ehh… I started replying based on the Apocalypse - I get my end-times prophecy mixed up. Ignore everything but the next sentence if you don’t want to get side-tracked in to Revelation.

On Daniel: I am a historicist. Daniel’s prophecy concluded with the crucifixion of Christ; the four kingdoms have come and gone, etc.

On the Apocalypse:

You need to add “futurist” and “premillenialist”, the teaching of the earliest Fathers, which treats the Apocalypse as “literal metaphorical prophecy” yet to happen with a real, 1000-year earthly reign of Christ in the future, but which is unencumbered by 19th-century dispensational theology or any form of “rapture”.

I’m a partial futurist or partial preterist - I believe some of the Apocalypse has yet to happen, and that some has - and a premillennialist, but of the Irenaean kind - not a dispensationalist of any sort, nor a “rapturist” (pre-trib, pre-wrath, post-trib, etc.) of any sort. Dispensationalism, like “two-covenant theology” (the Mosaic covenant is eternal and salvific), is heresy.

You should also add “amillennialism”, which can encompass preterism and futurism all at once in a symbolical manner, as well. Amillennialism was (and is) the preferred teaching of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformation Protestant (Reformed and Lutheran) churches.


Not exactly an answer. Do you know the popular belief that Jesus’ ministry lasted for three and a half years? Not everyone realizes it, but it ultimately derives from a particular interpretation of the last of the seventy weeks by Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea.

Therefore it is written, ‘and in the midst of the week shall be taken away sacrifice and libation’; (Daniel 9:27) and it is clear that with the Passion was forcibly taken from them sacrifice and libation, when according to the Evangelical Scripture ‘the veil of the Temple was rent from the top to the bottom’ (Matthew 27:41).

  • Eusebius, Prophetic Eclogues 3.46


There is a Catholic book on apocalyptic speculation which addresses the subject of Daniel’s 70 weeks, called Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition. It takes an ecletic, amillenialist approach, wherin preterism, historicism, idealism, and futurism are all valid systems, depending on the historical perspective of the reader. It mostly follows the usual take on this subject (i.e. that Daniel predicted the date of Christ’s ministry). But it also argues that the abomination of desolation is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and that the 1,260 “days” of the Apocalypse gives the date of the restoration of Israel:

According to the rules of the interpretation of prophecy first outlaid by Tyconius in the 4th century AD, a day could also be interpreted as a year in prophetic thought. So the time period when the times of the Gentiles would be completed could also be 1,260 years, and then the Holy Land would be restored to its rightful state. But when do we caculate this time period from?
In the book, I argue that as the only permanent structure standing for a sufficent time period on the site of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in Islam) would be a perfect candidate for the “abomination of desolation”.
The Book of Daniel gives the first clue that the Dome of the Rock is indeed the abomination of desolation by stating that the time period between when the daily sacrifices are taken away until the abomination of desolation would be set up would be 1,290 “days” (see Dan 12:11, cited above). If we calculate this time period as starting from the period of the Babylonian exile (when Babylon first invaded Judah and effectively interupted the daily sacrifices), then caculating 1,290 years on from the date of the first deportation of Jewish exiles to Babylon in 598BC, we arrive at the year 691AD - the year of the completion of the Dome of the Rock! (Remember to subtract 1, since there is no year “0” in the Anno Domini system). Also if we calculate 1,260 years on from when construction first began on the Dome of the Rock in 688 (when the Gentiles first began to trample the Temple underfoot?), we arrive at the year 1948 - the year of the creation of the modern state of Israel!

It argues that the 20th century was the “little while” given to Satan after the “millennium” (or age of the Church), in Rev 20:3, linking this with Pope Leo XIII’s prophecy of the 100 years of Satan’s greater power.


Yes, the popular dispensational teaching disconnects the 70th week from the 69th and sends it to the future.


[quote="patrick457, post:3, topic:312408"]
Not exactly an answer. Do you know the popular belief that Jesus' ministry lasted for three and a half years? Not everyone realizes it, but it ultimately derives from a particular interpretation of the last of the seventy weeks by Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea.

Therefore it is written, 'and in the midst of the week shall be taken away sacrifice and libation'; (Daniel 9:27) and it is clear that with the Passion was forcibly taken from them sacrifice and libation, when according to the Evangelical Scripture 'the veil of the Temple was rent from the top to the bottom' (Matthew 27:41).

  • Eusebius, Prophetic Eclogues 3.46


Do any of the old writers comment on how long it took to mend the curtain and reestablish animal sacrifice in defiance of Christ's, "It is finished"?


Here is what I put together for the Aquinas Study Bible

9:24-27 The weeks are actually to be understood as a sabbatical measure of time in the Jewish calendar, which means that each week is a 7 year cycle (compare to Genesis 29:26-28 ). Of all the explanations about this passage, Theodoret of Cyrus in my view gives the best interpretation. I will present a summary of his interpretation.

The 70 weeks begins at the year of Artaxerxes somewhere around 465BC.

The 62nd week marked the time period around when the high priests were being appointed illegally and the death of John Hyrcanus II around 31BC. The calculation does not start here exactly at the death of Hyrcanus, but in this time period, so an exact calculation would be around 22BC.

The 69th week brings us to the Baptism of Jesus around 27AD.

The 70th week is broken up into two 3 and a half year periods. The first half is the 3 and half year ministry of Jesus until His Passion around 30AD, and the second half being the 3 and half year period of the Apostles establishing the Church starting in Jerusalem until around 33-34AD.

The abomination of desolations does not only concern the final week but also to the entire time until the end of the world (Daniel 9:27). Pilate brought images into Jerusalem in this time period, and the same kind of abominations will continue until the end of the world.

**9:24 seventy weeks= 490 years: **this began with Artaxerxes to the crucifixion of Christ and 3 and a half years beyond. In this passage God allows Jerusalem to be rebuilt and a further set of years of living according to the Law. Here Jesus is referred to as Most Holy.

9:25 The 7 weeks and 62 weeks makes 69 weeks, in turn makes 483 years. This would bring us to the bapism of Jesus by John the Baptist.

9:26 "After the 62 weeks" takes us back 7 weeks from verse 25 which marks the end of when the high priests flourished and others were appointed illegally. This would bring us to Hyrcanus II, the last high priest of the Hasmoneans, whom Herod slew (31 BC). From this time period to the Baptism of Jesus is the period between the 62nd and the 69th week. and the people that shall deny him shall not be his: **And since those appointed illegally were called high priests, Daniel was right to say the people shall deny him. If they are appointed but not anointed according to the Law, they take it upon themselves to act illegally. **And a people, with their leader, that shall come, shall destroy the city, and the sanctuary: The city will suffer and so will the illegal rulers who are to come; by the prince who is coming he is referring to the foreign kingdom and high priest.

*9:27* This one week/seven years, is the period of time beginning with the baptism of Jesus to that of the holy Apostles teaching in Jerusalem after the Resurrection. The Lord preached for about 3 and a half years, and strengthened His disciples. But after the Resurrection, Ascension into Heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles spent the rest of the three and half years preaching in Jerusalem, working wonders and guiding many thousands, and they imparted the new covenant and caused them to enjoy the grace of baptism.
The abomination of desolations is to be understood as something that took place and continues to take place even until the end of time. It is not to be understood as a one time event in the past or future. Pilate was responsible for such an offense according to Josephus (Ant. 18.55-59) and Eusbeius (Hist. eccel. 2.6.3-4).

And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week: The new covenant will be given to the believers in this week, and He will fill them with all power. and in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail: **sacrifice according to the law will come to an end when the true sacrifice of the innocent lamb, who takes away the sin of the world, is offered; when it is finally offered, the other will cease. **and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation: that is, that formerly venerable and fearsome place will be made desolate. A sign of the desolation will be the introduction into it of certain images forbidden by the law; Pilate was guilty of this by introducing into the divine temple by night the imperial images in violation of the law (according to Josephus Ant. 18.55-59 an Philo The embassy to Caligula 299-305). Read Philo and Josephus' quotes HERE

In case the Jews should think the divine temple would recover its former splendor and glory, he consequently added..and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end until the end of the age: the consummation of the desolation will continue, undergoing no change.


AFAIK when Eusebius speaks about sacrifice and libation being taken away from the Jews it does not necessarily mean that the practice of sacrifice literally stopped, but that the sacrifices were devoided of meaning - which is because Jesus’ death abolished the old Mosaic covenant. Whereas before (in Eusebius’ opinion) some divine power guarded the Temple and the Holy of Holies, after the death of Jesus the divine presence departed and the “abomination of desolation” took its place: so that while ostensibly daily worship continued on as usual, this was technically no longer valid and pleasing to God. “Sacrifice and libation being from that time abolished and ceasing in effect and truth, any sacrifices that were afterwards thought to be offered there were celebrated in a profane place by profane and unhallowed men.”


Thank you for the insightful reference to Eusebius. When I have finished studying it, Ill get back.


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